Summertime Fabrics

by Adrianna

Well folks, this here blog concludes my three part post about summer clothes, and incase you all haven’t noticed, we are turning that corner to sunshine, toasty weather, and days and evenings spent on the porch; because unless you have central air, it will probably be cooler outside. In this post, I will describe the content and properties of a few fabulous fabrics we carry at Bolt that will make the upcoming heat a little more manageable.

If you were to ask me what my favorite fabric of all time is, I would tell you, without a doubt, even though there are several fabrics I like very much, chambray will always be number one in my book. Chambray is a traditional fabric that has been around since the 1500s and although it was created in France, today it is associated with American work wear. The tight weave of Chambray makes it great for work shirts, and it comes in various weights and colors so it can easily be dressed up or down. What sets chambray apart from other fabrics is its appearance. Traditionally chambray has a blue color for its warp and a white for its weft. This all cotton fabric is very breathable, has a wonderful hand, and in my opinion is the most comfortable fabric ever, and can be worn all year. The chambray fabrics we carry at Bolt vary from light to medium weight, which are perfect for summer and are great for layering. My favorite part of chambray is that it pairs well with just about anything. You can easily dress up a chambray garment with trim, buttons, ribbon, or other fabrics. A recent addition to my closet is a pleated chambray dress with eyelet trim and pearl snaps, and for my guy, I made a traditional western shirt also with pearl snaps and bias cut yokes and placket for a subtle accent.


A fairly recent addition to Bolt is a peach colored cotton blend crepe we have on a tube in our linen/hemp/organic cotton bin near the door. When this first came in I immediately knew I had to make something with it for summer. This is also a very lightweight breathable fabric that I decided to make a loose fitting, long sleeve dress out of, for cooler summer nights. Like chambray, crepe fabrics are known for their appearance. Traditionally crepe is made from raw silk or silk cotton blends. The wavy appearance of crepe happens because of the intricate way it is woven and the properties of the raw silk yarn. The crepe we carry at Bolt is by far one of the best crepes I have seen. It is a tighter weave so the waves are very subtle, which I prefer, and provides a touch of class to even a simple cut garment without bells or whistles.

The last fabric I will talk briefly about, since I’ve been kind of over doing it in my past blogs ;), is voile. You can check my last blog on the Airelle blouse for more in depth descriptions of voile, and for this post I’m showing how I made a little nighty top for summer. I decided to spice it up a bit by adding some hand embroidering using some of the extraordinary DMC embroidery floss we carry at Bolt (I foresee a not too distant future post about hand embroidering).

One staple summer and warm weather fabric I have surprisingly not made something out of (yet) is linen. Linen has been around for – ever. Even though I have been around linen for some time I always think of ancient Egypt when I hear linen. Due to its weave and fiber content it is exceptionally cool and fresh in the hot summer sun.

Now I know summer keeps teasing us by popping up here and there, but it is still the month of May, and we probably have one or two more days of rain and springy weather left (let’s be real this is Portland) but all the more reason to hurry and get into Bolt and stock up on these great summer weight apparel fabrics to keep you busy on the last few days we are stuck indoors. Unfortunately I drafted these garment patterns myself so we do not sell these patterns at the store, however, we do have great books on how to draft a pattern based on your measurements and how to alter those patterns to make other garments! Make sure to check those out ;)

Until next time, enjoy this week of sunshine and happy sewing!